When wanting to rank for multiple local locations or offices, it’s tempting to quickly create a simple template, a page for each office location and then hook them up to Google My Business. But wait! Google doesn’t like duplicated content or sparse pages that don’t meet visitors’ needs. Specifically, Google doesn’t like doorway pages that serve only to funnel visitors to the main part of the website, with little other value. But wasn’t that what you wanted to achieve? So what to do?
The nub of the approach is to walk in the shoes of your visitors, think about what matters to them and then provide what they need in a clear, tidy package of content that’s unique to each location. So here are my top tips for local SEO landing pages.
- Think about the visitor and create useful and unique pages
It’s obvious really, but the local pages must offer good content to the visitor and help answer their search. Make the content specific to the location search, including location specific information, testimonials, case studies, images of the local office or service location, key personnel, local community links and CSR details and the like. Maps are always going to be useful as are directions and transport details. If there are any local well known clients that can be referenced, do so as it can only help build relevance. Think of this as a landing page that meets the visitors needs, not a page to funnel visitors away from quickly.
- Use landing page best practices
Have a strong heading and get the main part of your content above the fold setting out your ‘elevator pitch’ and service details, along with a clear and strong call to action. Keep it clean and attractive, with nice, relevant (and local), imagery. If you’re also going to have local PPC campaigns running you’ll especially need to make sure these pages are strong and worth the spend.
- Use keyword targeting correctly
Use keyword targeting, but be sensible, no stuffing, and describe what you actually do – if you are based in a location or serving a location make it clear. Ensure you’ve identified key words and used them across your H1, H2 element tags, image alt text attributes, in main copy, url and of course aligned meta title and description tags. Google now recognizes synonyms so there’s no need to pepper your copy with all the alternatives, and key word density is no longer as important as it was. If you over do it, it’s likely to have a negative effect, so write for your visitors first and Google second, aiming above all to be helpful and answer visitors’ search needs.
- Use schema.org markup
Google gives a lot of guidance in marking up local pages with schema.org micro markup. Google likes to get as much information and understanding as it can from the page, so use the micro markup to add in the location name, address, phone number (NAP) details as well as opening hours. There are a heap of guides and tools including: Google’s guide to local business markup and Google’s own structured data testing tool.
- Feature your pages in your navigation
If your pages are stranded outside of your navigation then Google may think you’re gaming the system. Add your locations to the navigation, in say a drop down menu if there are a lot, or add to the footer if there are a few, say 10 or under. Include the pages in your sitemap page. Some people argue it’s no longer important, but it does help ensure the pages have plenty of links to them, and sitemaps are an accessibility recommendation as well. Of course, you should also include your local page links on your about page as well.
- Ensure your Google My Business listings are absolutely tip top
Your Google listings will play a major role in boosting your local SEO. Make sure they are as good as they can be and have consistent NAP references. Likewise all your NAP citations should be totally consistent. If you have a lot of locations and legacy links you may need to use an audit tool to check them out.
- Be sensible, don’t over do it and don’t be too aggressive
The trick is to keep to it sensible, don’t go mad, as it may look to Google that you are gaming the system. If you have lots of locations, service lots of areas, focus on the main ones.
So that’s it. As usual, with SEO, the more you can think of the visitor and meeting their information needs in as genuine a way as possible, with really valuable content, the more Google will likely reward you. Happy SEO’ing.
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